Nappy rash is very common and can pop up anytime no matter how diligent you are.
Nappy rash mainly occurs when baby’s skin is covered by a wet or soiled nappy for too long. ‘Too long’ can vary from one baby to other and maybe influenced by whether your baby is teething or unwell. Some babies will hardly get any nappy rash, while others will get a lot, it depends on how sensitive their skin is.
Nappy rash is caused by germs on the baby’s skin, in faeces, urine and on clothing (including nappies) creating ammonia which can burn the skin. When the nappy rubs on the irritated skin, it is exacerbated.
Often when babies are unwell, particularly if they have diarrhoea, their skin seems to become more sensitive. Other possible triggers include starting a new food, teething, chemicals in disposable nappies or an infection on the skin such as thrush, which can make the rash worse.
Eliminating the causes as much as possible will help to minimise nappy rash. Here are some handy hints:
- Change your baby’s nappy often so the skin is kept fresh and clean. This may mean a lot more nappy changes than normal during times when nappy rash is problematic
- Have “nappy free” time where there is no nappy on to help the skin remain free of possible irritants. Grab a waterproof picnic blanket and lay bubs on this so if there is an accident, it is easy to clean and won’t go everywhere
- Using liners in disposable nappies may also benefit as they absorb wetness and keep it away from skin. Choose your disposable nappies carefully as many contain chemicals that some babies may find irritating. There are several eco-friendly nappies available now which may be more suitable and are easy to purchase online
- It is important when washing your baby’s nappy area that you check the skin folds and that you are very gentle as rubbing the skin can cause friction and make nappy rash worse
- Avoid soap – it disrupts the skin barrier by stripping away natural oils and causing dryness, which can make nappy rash worse. Choose a soap-free cleanser as a gentle but effective option
- Wipes often have alcohol in them and this can cause further pain and discomfort on damaged skin, so look for an alcohol–free wipe that also contains moisturising properties
- Using a barrier balm to keep dampness away from the skin can be beneficial. Be mindful not to rub vigorously as this can irritate the area, try to gently pat the area to apply
- Use a talc-free powder to absorb excess moisture in your baby’s skin folds and keeps your baby drier
Find out more about GAIA skin naturals here